Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Man tasered, arrested for asking good questions of Sen. John Kerry

I just found on youtube this video of a young man at a University of Florida q and a session with Senator John Kerry. The man, Andrew Meyer, congratulates Kerry for being (in his view) the real winner of the 2004 election, asks Kerry why he doesn’t support the impeachment of Bush and then asks is it true that he and Bush are both members of Skull and Bones. Whereupon the uniformed officers grab him and begin to try to manhandle him out. He is shouting that he didn’t do anything. The officers wrestle the young man to the ground and taser the poor fellow. A member of the audience then begins shouting, “police brutality! police brutality!”

This video is shocking, and horrible. It depicts Nazi-like behavior from those who are sworn to uphold the law. And the man’s questions are good questions and deserve answers, not torture and abuse.

The Andrew Meyer
Search on “taser” at Digg.
Skull and Bones (wikipedia)
Student Tasered at campus forum for Kerry
Kerry Responds to Taser Incident
CNN: Your e-mails: Reaction to police using Taser on student
Students stunned — and tired — about Taser incident
College cop: After being shocked, student said we ‘didn’t do anything wrong’
Instant Political Martyrdom via YouTube

A interesting comment on the subject posted by Benjamin Wood:

“When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.

“These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence.” Jones v. State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75; Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.

“An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted to be restrained of his liberty has the same right to use force in defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and battery.” (State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260).

“Each person has the right to resist an unlawful arrest. In such a case, the person attempting the arrest stands in the position of a wrongdoer and may be resisted by the use of force, as in self- defense.” (State v. Mobley, 240 N.C. 476, 83 S.E. 2d 100).

“One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance.” (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).

“Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529.

Taking Sides in a Tasing

Student Protest at FU against the Tazing of the Bro

Comment by Benjamin N. Dictor, Student, University of Florida
google news comment
Google Comment – 10 hours ago

The conduct of the police officers at Monday’s forum with John Kerry is nothing short of an embarrassment for both the University of Florida and the City of Gainesville as a whole.

We will not be quick to recover from the wounds that we all suffer as a result of the complex betrayal on behalf of the University of Florida Police Department. As if the suppression of thought is not in itself, heinous enough a crime, the unabashed abuse of physical force by those sworn to protect us leaves trust broken and wounds open.

This incident will be remembered as a physical assault as well as an assault on reason itself. How dare law enforcement act in such a manner! We, the students of this university, must not allow this aggression to stand!

Benjamin N. Dictor

skull bones & bush & kerry a WIN WIN for the skull & bones

Another case of alleged police overkill: Death Squad in Delaware: The Case of the Murdered Marine

Submitted to The Lede blog on nytimes.com:

In the case of the Tazing of the Bro, I am reminded of the words of Frederick Douglass:

“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”

Andrew Meyer, whatever his motives, was asking reasonable and legitimate questions which the speaker had agreed to address. This is not a police state; the police may not use force to subdue someone for saying “blowjob” or “Skull and Bones” or taking 90 seconds to ask three questions in a row.

The democratic system of government is dependent on the free market of ideas. The widest possible range of views, correct and incorrect, must be aired and debated, so that the people may choose the best policies and the representatives to implement them. In the United States, it is We the People, not the government, which is sovereign. In the words of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, in his First Inaugural Address:

“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember, or overthrow it.”

Andrew Meyer acted in the finest patriotic tradition of Paul Revere, Crispus Attucks, Tom Paine and Patrick Henry. Bravo, Sir. Bravely and well done. Bravo!

HENRY EDWARD HARDY
Ann Arbor, MI
scanlyze.wordpress.com


Don't Taze Me Bro

Dahlem memorial tagged with Meyer quote
Comment: Florida cops were out of line Tasering student at speech

Interesting poll on Washingtonpost.com, at this writing, 42% of respondents say along with Benjamin Dictor (quoted above), “This incident is ‘an assault on reason itself.’ America has become a police state and this is evidence of that.” An additional 11.5% opine, “If you have to Tase anyone bro, Tase John Kerry. FREE SPEECH RULES!”.

Note the snide photo caption (probably falsely) attributed to AP: “Could public forums benefit from more Tasering? (AP)”

How can this caption possibly be considered appropriate to the circumstances by the Post?

It seems that the Post is exploiting this incident for its “entertainment” value. How sick and wrong of the once-respected Washington Post.

Andrew Meyer, Free Speech and the Joy of Tasers: Were the Police Justified Or Should They Be Punished?
Florida Student Is Shocked at Kerry Forum

Beck said he “enjoy[s] watching” Taser videos; O’Reilly rolled out “Don’t Taze me, bro!” bumper stickers
Google “Andrew Meyer” (276,000 references on google 2007-09-20)
Hentoff on the Tasering of the First Amendment
Why are students getting Tasered on video?
THE SHOCK HEARD AROUND THE WORLD.
Andrew Meyer, John Kerry and Campus Security: Clusterfuck Royale.
Emotional Responses to the Andrew Meyer & John Kerry Incident: A Psychological Study in Issues of Power, Anger and Authority
University comes away shocked, burned

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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18 September, 2007 Posted by | 2004 election, abuse, Andrew Meyer, Associated Press, Bush, censorship, Florida, free speech, John Kerry, lede, manufacturing consent, New York Times, news, nonlethal weapons, oppression, police, police brutality, politics, propaganda, scanlyze, shocking, Skull and Bones, spin, taser, Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle, torture, University of Florida, video, Washington Post, youtube | 3 Comments

The Surge is Working?

The Surge is Working?

The Opinionator by Tobin Harshaw on the New York Times has a peculiar article suggesting that US Democrats are under attack due to the supposed success of “the surge”. The piece leads with a quote attributed to Karen Tumlty, which says, in part, “It’s the Democrats who are being put on the defensive over the war.”

The column goes on to quote a number of selected statements from obscure “moderates” closing with: “Where the strategy was first to argue that the military surge would not work, the Democrats seem to be ready to acknowledge — behind closed doors that is — that they were wrong,” from Michael van der Galien. If you have access to Times Select, you can read this compendium of preposterousness at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/spinning-the-surge/

There are a number of logical refutations submitted to the column. One, by ‘Rosemary Molloy’, reads,

Gee, all this “republicans did this,” “democrats said that” is confusing. Guess the only thing I quite understand is that we’re killing people. We. Are. Killing. People. These aren’t wild dogs we’re talking about–they’re PEOPLE! And we’re killing them.

My response follows:

The surge is working? The evidence would seem to suggest to the contrary. Consider the top headlines which come up upon searching, newest first, on the Times website on ‘Iraq’ today: ‘Times Topics: Iraq‘, ‘Black Hawk Fails and Crashes, Killing 14 U.S. Soldiers‘, ‘Cue the Film Awards Season and Strike a Somber Note‘, ‘Armored Trucks’ Delivery Delayed‘, ‘Army Officer, Others Indicted on Bribery‘, ‘25 Killed in Clash Northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi Police Say‘. You reported today that the capital, Baghdad, is receiving 2-6 hours of electricity per day as opposed to 24 hours per day before the war. The ‘surge’ is not sustainable; if this is success, what will the inevitable failure look like?

See: Democrats Refocus Message on Iraq After Military Gains
Militias Seizing Control of Iraqi Electricity Grid

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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23 August, 2007 Posted by | defeat, failure, Iraq, New York Times, news, peace, politics, propaganda, scanlyze, surge, war, Washington Post | Leave a comment

More testimony on the Haditha massacre and discussion of a soldiers duty to the dead

Haditha massacre.jpg From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Haditha Killings (wikipedia)

The New York Times has an excellent article today (May 31, 2007) describing testimony regarding eight American soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines accused of unlawfully killing 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005. It isn’t entirely clear from the news articles but I surmise that these were Article 32 proceedings.

The article, 2 Marines Deny Suspecting Haditha War Crime, by Paul Von Zielbaur, details testimony by two First Lieutenants which was just made public. The recently released testimony is from First Lt. Alexander Martin and First Lt. Max D. Frank.

Lt. Martin testified that the killings in Haditha had made the civilian population more cooperative:

After 19 November, I had people coming up to me to tell me where the I.E.D.’s [land mines] were.

Lt. Frank testified about the activities of the detail which policed the scene. According to the Times report:

Lieutenant Frank told a Marine prosecutor that each of the eight bodies he found on the bed had “multiple holes” in it, and that one child’s head was missing. But Lieutenant Frank repeatedly said in his testimony that he had never considered the possibility that a war-crime violation had occurred, the legal threshold under Marine Corps regulations that compels an episode to be reported to a superior officer…

The marines had only four or five body bags at the base and used them to collect the largest of the dead civilians, said Lieutenant Frank. The children’s remains were placed in trash bags, he said. When the marines’ four-Humvee convoy carrying the bodies arrived at a local hospital morgue that evening, Iraqi workers reacted in horror and some vomited at the sight, he testified.

An investigation of the killings by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell in 2006 found, “Statements made by the chain of command during interviews for this investigation, taken as a whole, suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives, their deaths are just the cost of doing business, and that the Marines need to get ‘the job done’ no matter what it takes. These comments had the potential to desensitize the Marines to concern for the Iraqi populace and portray them all as the enemy even if they are noncombatants… The lessons for staff procedures and reporting are basic, but the case study will illustrate how simple failures can lead to disastrous results,” according to the Washington Post.

An interesting and comprehensive article from the July 1996 Army Lawyer examined the question of what obligations US troops have toward the dead, whether or not collected on the field of battle. The publication is citable as Army pamphlet 27-50-284:

The Third Priority: The Battlefield Dead
Lieutenant Colonel H. Wayne Elliott,
Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United Stares Army (Retired)

…The general obligation to the wounded is that
they be promptly treated without regard to their nationality. This
article examines the narrower issue of the duty a belligerent owes
to those who are beyond treatment-the dead. What obligations
exist regarding the dead? Must they be buried? If so, under
what conditions? Are the dead to be protected? If so, from what?
What of the property of the dead? What criminal sanctions apply
to maltreatment of the dead and their property? …

Article 15 expands the duty set out in the 1929 Geneva Convention.
The obligation under the 1949 Geneva Convention applies
“at all times” and is imposed on all parties, not just the force
left in control of the battlefield. …

The official Red Cross Commentary to the Convention,
which provides explanation and interpretation of the
treaty, describes the obligation to search for and protect the wounded
and dead as a “bounden duty, which must be fulfilled as soon as
circumstances permit.” However, this seems to be a slight overstatement
as the actual obligation to the dead is different from
that to the wounded. The obligation regarding the dead is to search
for them and to “prevent their being despoiled.” The requirement
is to collect the wounded and sick, but only to search for the dead.
Again, however, the Red Cross Commentary expands the obligation:

The dead must also be looked for and brought
back behind the lines with as much care as the
wounded. It is not always certain that death
has taken place. It is, moreover, essential that
the dead bodies should be identified and given
a decent burial. When a man has been hit with
such violence that there is nothing left of him
but scattered remains, these must be carefully
collected…

In October 1967, General Westmoreland, United
States Commander in Vietnam, described the practice of cutting
ears and fingers off the dead as “subhuman” and “contrary to all
policy and below the minimum standards of human decency.”

In the primary army manual on the law of war during the Vietnam
War, which still applies today, the “maltreatment of dead bodies”
is described as an act “representative of violations of the law of
war (war crimes)”…

Where the corpse is actually mutilated, the accused, if charged
under the UCMJ, might be charged only with “conduct prejudicial
to good order and discipline” (Article 134, UCMJ) or with a
violation of any standing orders against such conduct (Article 92,
UCMJ). Either of these two charges seems less than appropriate
given the severity, and depravity, of the offense. Therefore, in the
opinion of this author, one who mutilates a corpse should be
charged, and again would be more appropriately charged, with a
direct violation of the law of war. The United States policy of
charging United States soldiers with violating the UCMJ rather
than the law of war simply stands in the way of appropriate punishment
where mutilation of a corpse is alleged.

War leads to death and destruction. Those who give their
lives in warfare deserve respect, even from their adversaries on
the battlefield. The law and human decency permit no less. The
inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington
Cemetery provides the raison d’etre for protecting and honorably
treating the dead: “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American
Soldier, Known But to God.”

So we must pose the question: Would collecting the bodies and dismembered body parts of the children in garbage bags and delivering them in this condition to an Iraqi hospital constitute appropriate treatment of the dead under the laws of war? To say nothing of course of blowing the children and their mother to bits with grenades and M4’s or M16’s as they cowered in their bedroom in the first place.

Here is a list of casualties of the Haditha massacre from United for Peace and Justice via wikipedia:

Deaths & injuries in the massacre

House #1 — 7 killed, 2 injured (but survived), 2 escaped
1. Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, 76 — grandfather, father and husband. Died with nine rounds in the chest and abdomen.
2. Khamisa Tuma Ali, 66 — wife of Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali
3. Rashid Abdul Hamid, 30.
4. Walid Abdul Hamid Hassan, 35.
5. Jahid Abdul Hamid Hassan, middle-aged man.
6. Asma Salman Rasif, 32.
7. Abdullah Walid, 4.
Injured: Iman, 8, and Abdul Rahman, 5.
Escaped: Daughter-in-law, Hibbah, escaped with 2-month-old Asia

House #2 — 8 killed, 1 survivor: Shot at close range and attacked with grenades
8. Younis Salim Khafif, 43 — husband of Aeda Yasin Ahmed, father.
9. Aeda Yasin Ahmed, 41 — wife of Younis Salim Khafif, killed trying to shield her youngest daughter Aisha.
10. Muhammad Younis Salim, 8 — son.
11. Noor Younis Salim, 14 — daughter.
12. Sabaa Younis Salim, 10 — daughter.
13. Zainab Younis Salim, 5 — daughter.
14. Aisha Younis Salim, 3 — daughter.
15. A 1-year-old girl staying with the family.
Survived: Safa Younis Salim, 13.

House #3 — 4 brothers killed
16. Jamal Ahmed, 41.
17. Marwan Ahmed, 28.
18. Qahtan Ahmed, 24.
19. Chasib Ahmed, 27.

Taxi — 5 killed: Passengers were students at the Technical Institute in Saqlawiyah
20. Ahmed Khidher, taxi driver.
21. Akram Hamid Flayeh.
22. Khalid Ayada al-Zawi.
23. Wajdi Ayada al-Zawi.
24. Mohammed Battal Mahmoud.

See also keyword Najaf on Scanlyze.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 June, 2007 Posted by | 1st Marines, Alexander Martin, Army Lawyer, Eldon Bargewell, Geneva Convention, H. Wayne Elliott, Haditha, Hague Convention, Iraq, law, law of war, massacre, Max Frank, military law, New York Times, news, Paul Von Zielbaur, politics, Red Cross, repression, UCMJ, United for Peace and Justice, war, war crime, war crimes, Washington Post | Leave a comment

An Intimate Look at a Stumbling White House: State of Denial by Bob Woodward

An Intimate Look at a Stumbling White House


State of Denial: Bush at War part III

by Bob Woodward

Simon and Schuster, 2006
http://www.simonsays.com

by Henry Edward Hardy


State of Denial is Washington Post Assistant Editor Bob Woodward’s third book on the presidential administration of George W. Bush. Like Bush at War (2002) and Plan of Attack (2004), the book purports to be an inside look into the intimate details of executive policy making at the White House. State of Denial uses the same omniscient viewpoint as in the previous books, though Woodward does insert himself into the story this time in order to make a few parenthetical derogatory comments pertaining to the recently retired secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Woodward graduated from Yale in 1965, a few years before Bush. Until 1970 he served on the staff of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, and sometimes acted as a courier to the White House.Woodward first achieved national prominence in the early 1970’s for his coverage of the Watergate break-in. That scandal led to the resignation of Richard M. Nixon. Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein played a significant role in uncovering and reporting on the Watergate conspiracy.

Although it includes some unlikely-sounding quotes and aphorisms, even haiku, State of Denial is clearly written, well-paced and full of pithy and memorable quotes. The book includes this quote from a US Intelligence Colonel early in the Iraq occupation regarding the lack of sufficient occupation troops:

Rumsfeld is a dick
Won’t flow the forces we need
We will be too light

Woodward writes that during a Cabinet meeting on August 27, 2001, the Saudi ambassador (and Bush family friend) Prince Bandar confronted Bush and cabinet members about growing tension in the Middle East. Woodward writes that Colin Powell, then the Secretary of State, confronted Bandar after and demanded, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? You’re putting the fear of God into everybody here. You scared the shit out of everybody.”Bandar replied, “I don’t give a damn what you feel. We are scared ourselves.”

Woodward’s tale of the tirade by Bandar and the alarmed response by Powell, two weeks before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, makes the Saudi origins of 14 of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers all the more interesting.

This is only one of many blockbusters Woodward apparently withheld from publication by the Washington Post. Woodward never seems to let the interests of the Post or the United States get in the way of his own journalistic coups. He has been criticized for allowing New York Times reporter Judy Miller go to jail for contempt of court and Vice President Dick Cheney’s aide “Scooter” Libby to be charged with leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. All along Woodward knew that the information had been previously revealed to him by Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

In a 1996 article in the New York Review of Books, Joan Didion accused Woodward of “curious passivity” in his uncritical retelling of the stories of each of his protagonists. In a wide-ranging attack on his work, methods, and credibility, she accused him of creating “political pornography”. But whereas the previous two books show Bush as a confident and decisive commander, the current work depicts him as vacillating, detached and ill-informed from the outset of his presidency. One would like to see some explanation from Woodward for his extraordinary change of perspective. One almost feels sorry for the thoroughly unlikable Rumsfeld as he is savaged by Woodward’s portrayal of him as a manipulative, vain, overbearing tyrant. Although he evidently granted Woodward several in-depth interviews, Rumsfeld does not come in for the kid-gloves treatment proffered to most of his other apparent sources. So now Bob Woodward has the scalp of Rumsfeld to add to that of Nixon.

This is a fun book, a weighty book, and a political tour-de-force. But it isn’t journalism. Instead it lies somewhere between an historical novel such as Burr by Gore Vidal, and books such as Rise of the Vulcans by James Mann or Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer. State of Denial has had great influence among the chattering classes in Washington and I believe influenced the recent congressional elections and led to the downfall of Rumsfeld. This book is highly recommended.

State of Denial (Metacritic)
State of Denial (wikipedia)
The Deferential Spirit (Joan Didion in the New York Review of Books )

A version of this article appeared previously in Current Magazine and on Electric Current

Copyright © 2006, 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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22 January, 2007 Posted by | Afghanistan, archives, books, Bush, Cheney, intelligence, Iraq, news, politics, reviews, Rumsfeld, scanlyze, war, Washington Post | 1 Comment